Fire Safety Certificates & Licensing

The assessment of Fire Safety Certificates (and related Regularisation Certificates, Revised Fire Safety Certificate and 7 Day notice applications) are core function(s) of the Fire Prevention section of Cork City Fire Brigade.  This process consists of a detailed technical appraisal, by a Fire Prevention Officer, of a proposed building design or proposed change of use against Technical Guidance Document B of the Building Regulations or an approved equivalent standard.  The process may also involve pre-project consultation, liaison with consultants and building inspections.

Fire Safety Certificates

What is a Fire Safety Certificate?

A Fire Safety Certificate is a certificate issued by the Building Control Authority on foot of an application submitted to it. A Fire Safety Certificate certifies that the works or building to which the application relates will, if constructed in accordance with the plans and specifications submitted, comply with the requirements of Part B [Fire] of the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations 1997.

Which developments require a Fire Safety Certificate?

The following developments (other than those listed as exempt below) require a Fire Safety Certificate;

Works in connection with the design and construction of a new building.
Works in connection with the material alteration of a day centre, a building containing a flat, a hotel, hostel or guest building, an institutional building, a place of assembly, a shopping centre.
Works in connection with the material alteration of a shop, office or industrial building where additional floor area is being provided within the existing building or where the building is being sub divided into a number of units for separate occupancy.
Works in connection with the extension of a building by more than 25 square metres.
A building as regards which a material change of use takes place.

Which developments are exempted from the requirement of a Fire Safety Certificate?

The following buildings are exempted from the requirement to obtain a Fire Safety Certificate:

Certain single storey agricultural buildings.
A building used as a dwelling other than a flat.
A single storey domestic garage.
A single storey building ancillary to a dwelling which is used exclusively for recreational or storage purposes or the keeping of plants, birds or animals for domestic purposes and is not used for any trade or business or for human habitation.
Works by a Building Control Authority in it’s functional area.
Works in connection with a Garda station, a courthouse, a barracks and certain government buildings.

How does the Fire Safety Certificate process work in Cork City Fire Authority?

An application is submitted to the Building Control Authority. Valid applications are date stamped and an acknowledgement stating date of receipt is sent to the applicant. 

The application is examined technically for compliance with the ‘Fire’ part of the Building Regulations. Where it is considered that additional information or modifications are required to the application, the officer examining the application may request such additional information/modification from the applicant.

The Building Control Authority must notify the applicant of the decision on the application within two months of the date of receipt of a valid application or within such extended period of time as may be agreed between the applicant and the Authority at any time.

What must be submitted with a Fire Safety Certificate Application?

A Fire Safety Certificate Application should contain:

A completed application form (see below for forms)
Relevant drawings (in duplicate)
A fire safety report
The appropriate fee (see details below)

What drawings are required?

An application shall be accompanied by such plans (including a site or layout plan and draw­ings of floor plans, elevations and sections) and such other particulars as are necessary to identify and describe the works or building and to enable the building control authority to assess, whether the said works or building would comply with requirements of Part B of the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations.

What should the fire safety report contain?

The application is required to demonstrate that the development will comply with Part B (Fire) of the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations. One way to achieve this is to systematically address each relevant clause of the particular Codes and Guidance documents which are being used in the fire safety design of the building.

When can work on the development start?

Where a Fire Safety Certificate is required in respect of works or a building then a person shall not carry out the works until a Fire Safety Certificate has been issued for the works. Where it is proposed to commence work before grant of the relevant Fire Safety Certificate a 7 Day Notice shall be submitted to the Building Control Authority (see details below).

What about changes in the design after a Fire Safety Certificate has been granted?

A Fire Safety Certificate is granted based on the design and information submitted. Deviations at construction stage from the documentation submitted may call into question the validity of the Fire Safety Certificate as it applies to the development. Where significant revision is made to the design or works of a building or a building extension or a material alteration or material change of use of a building in respect of which a fire safety certificate has been granted then a Revised Fire Safety Certificate is required in respect of the works. (See details below).

Will Cork City Council inspect the development when it is completed?

The Building Control Authority has the power to inspect and your building may be inspected for compliance with the Building Regulations and with the Fire Safety Certificate issued. Where there is non compliance enforcement action may be initiated.

Will Cork City Council certify the development when it is completed? 

No. The building can only be certified by someone who has overseen the construction and you are advised to employ your fire safety consultant to oversee and certify the fire related aspects of the work.

What happens to a development carried out without a Fire Safety Certificate? 

If you carry out works without a Fire Safety Certificate you are liable to prosecution under Building Control Legislation. It is also a serious offence to occupy a building which requires a Fire Safety Certificate in the absence of a fire safety certificate. Where works have been commenced or completed in the absence of a fire safety certificate or the submission of a 7 day notice then an application must be submitted for a Regularisation Certificate. (See details below). You should also note the serious consequences of carrying out works in the absence of a Commencement Notice (see link at top of page).

7 Day Notice

What is a 7 day notice?

Where it is proposed to commence work before grant of the relevant Fire Safety Certificate a 7 day notice shall be submitted to the Building Control Authority. A 7 day notice shall be submitted at least 7 days before commencement of work.

All 7 Day notices should be processed online. See https://www.localgov.ie/en/bcmsfor more details and the relevant forms.

Can I apply for a 7 day notice if I have already applied for a Fire safety Certificate?

Yes, if a valid application for a Fire Safety Certificate has been submitted a 7 day notice application may be submitted provided the following is included:

1. The reference number of the original application.
2. The revised fee.
3. The required documentation (see below).

A valid 7 day notice application consists of:

A 7 day notice form
A valid Fire Safety Certificate application
A 7 day notice statutory declaration
The prescribed fee

Revised Fire Safety Certifictes

What is a Revised Fire Safety Certificate?

A Revised Fire Safety Certificate is required where significant revision is made to the design or works of a building in respect of which a Fire Safety Certificate has been granted. 

A Revised Fire Safety Certificate application consists of:

A completed application form
Relevant revised drawings (in duplicate) 
A fire safety report 
The appropriate fee

Regularisation Certs

What is a Regularisation Certificate?

Where works have been commenced or completed in the absence of a fire safety certificate (or the submission of a 7 day notice) then an application must be submitted for a Regularisation Certificate.

A Regularisation Certificate application consists of:

A completed application form
Relevant drawings (in duplicate and certified)
A Statutory Declaration 
The appropriate fee.

Licensing Requirements

Licensing Requirements

Section 18 (2) of the fire services Act 1981 & 2003 requires that any person who has control over a premises must:

Take all reasonable action to prevent against the outbreak of fire.
Provide reasonable fire safety measures and procedures.
Ensure that these measures and procedures are applied at all times
Ensure the safety, as far as is reasonably practicable, of any/all persons on the premises in the event of a fire.
The above measures along with those required by Cork City Fire Department will be the responsibility of the Licensee.

The requirements of Cork Fire Department will be in relation to:

The maximum attendees
The safety and availability of the escape routes and exit doors
Staff training
Emergency Lighting and fire alarm system
A fire safety register.